It’s all about osculation

Ed Smith
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This past week is sometimes known as kissing week.

Not by everyone, of course. Some people know it as yet another week in which highly creative advertisers go all out to persuade you to spend all kinds of money on your significant other to prove that you love him/her to death.

How’s that for a perfect run-on sentence? Actually, in the spirit of this week I am presenting that sentence as a public service to the lovers of Newfoundland and Labrador. Incredible as it may seem, it can be used to improve your love life without benefit of chocolates, cards or Rodriguez Barrens Mix vintage wine.

How is that possible, you ask. Simple. First, you set yourself up for a Valentine-type kiss. For that you need a partner. It goes without saying that the partner should be willing and of the appropriate sex. If it goes without saying, I don’t know why I feel I have to say it. It certainly doesn’t go without explanation. If, for example, the partner isn’t willing, you could wind up with anything from a sore jaw to a court appearance.

Ii is important to have the appropriate gender and an appropriate match made with same. Off the top of my head I can think of four options from which to choose: male, female, bisexual, gay, straight. Okay that’s five — math was never my strong suit. It is also important that the appropriate gender be a consenting appropriate gender — if you follow.

Perhaps it would be useful here to define the term “kissing,” because it is many things to many people. Indeed, it could be said that it covers a wide field of endeavour. If one were to take a video survey of the types of kisses given and received on Valentine’s Day, one would be flabbergasted at the variety of same. I will confine our discussion here to the kind of osculation one might expect to find happening between consenting adults who are not related to each other — or shouldn’t be.

In other words, the romantic-type kiss, or even friendly kiss. Sometimes the two get confused with each other. For example, a shy young man might wish to give his idealized girlfriend a romantic kiss, but wind up giving her a brotherly peck on the cheek. This is not appropriate for St. Valentine’s Day. The hurried peck on the cheek or the forehead or even the lips is not acceptable. St. Valentine requires something more, something from the heart, something more soulful. Otherwise, it is better not to offer it at all.

It might be interesting to consider how different groups would approach this procedure. Let’s begin with different age groups. I don’t mean to be offensive here, but I intend to skip the high school grades altogether in this examination of the kissing phenomenon. There is no logical beginning of age or grade at which high schoolers can be expected to know very much about it.

No, the most appropriate place to begin is with first-year university or college students. Not only because of the vigour with which the process is pursued, but also because college students are in the learning mode and want to explore new experiences for all they’re worth.

I remember at one university I attended the students actually had a kissing contest to see which couple could hold a mouth coupling the longest. I remember that there was no shortage of contestants.

If I’m not mistaken, the winning time was well over two minutes. That’s a long time to be breathing through one’s nose.

An interesting fact among young adults is that the older they get, the shorter the kissing time becomes. I’m not sure about seniors. I’m told there’s a wide disparity in how they approach kissing. Some continue the practice into their golden years. Others don’t approach it at all.

It may have something to do with buccal hygiene. For example, it has been said that the practice of kissing is the exchange of a variety of germs between two consenting people — as good a definition as you’re likely to find anywhere. Counting everything from large bacteria to tiny viruses, it has been estimated that somewhere between 15 million and 20 million little organisms make the journey from one mouth to the other in your average 10-second kiss.

I don’t know who had either the time or the interest to count them, although it would be interesting to observe what’s happening to the germs during a kiss. There would certainly be a great deal of give and take, of coming and going. Some interesting germ talk.

“Hey, here comes Fred! Oops, there goes Fred. Hey Bruce, didn’t I see you a few moments ago going in the other direction? Right! Good to see you again, Hector. What are you doing there, the backstroke? Say, Bernice, what’s it like where you just came from? Much the same as here? Watch out for that sudden drop, Ronald — you go down there and you’re lost, man. Hey, isn’t this fun? I’m on the way back again. Hi again Fred! Whee!”

On a slightly more serious note, some sex therapist or other has said (it wasn’t me) that the kiss is the most meaningful and intense act in sexual intimacy. More can be expressed and given, she went on, than in any other way.

Oh, almost forgot. How can that run-on sentence be used to gauge the intensity of a kiss with your beloved whoever or whatever? Well, that sentence has been carefully calibrated so that the time it takes to read it is exactly the same as the length of a pure and proper Valentine kiss. It took three people to do that, two of whom had to be experts in both the art and science of kissing, and the other pretty good with an hourglass.

At least that’s what I was told.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in

Springdale. His email address is

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Springdale

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